Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Post (American) Thanksgiving Ponder

Every year around this time, and for weeks beforehand, the media is overrun with articles and blogs about ethical eating and OMG is that a free-range turkey? Even the episode of the Simpsons that I watched the other night touched on the issue when poor Marge tried to feed the babies in the toddler play group some non-PC cookies (I think they had trans-fats in them).

I have seen a really large amount of articles lately dealing with food that either directly or indirectly disparage the morality of people who consume animal products (flesh or otherwise). The rationale here is, I believe, that if you consume animal products then you are thoughtless for not considering the plight of the animal or you are downright immoral for knowing and not caring.

The irony here is that many people who eat animals do very much care about them. Many of us have pets, many of these pets also eat animal products. I've been told that I could feed my cat a vegetarian diet, but honestly, cats are not evolved to eat nothing but plant based food. Hell, people aren't even evolved to eat nothing but plant based food. However, I don't have the sense of self-importance that's required to tell anyone else what they should or should not be putting in their bodies. Eat what you want, it's your life.

My personal beliefs about food? Well, I think that just like every other animal on the planet, we evolved eating a certain array of foods over hundreds of thousands of years; adapting to each new type slowly as we discovered them. Many experts in the filed of human evolution think that animal proteins, especially ones like brains and marrow, were strategic additions to our food supply that let us evolve big brains that let us make our own menu choices in these modern times.

I hope that when given the option, most people will choose to purchase humanely raised and slaughtered meat, but it's not always an option in every price range. More importantly, just because we might be eating eggs or honey or (heaven forbid) a steak.. that doesn't mean that we're not MORAL people.

Morality doesn't come in a set-in-stone rulebook. Morality has a similar basis for most people, but in very few cases is it an identical rule set and just because you follow a particular set of rules doesn't mean that anyone who doesn't have a copy of the same rule book as you is some sort of cretin. So, if someone doesn't follow the same dietary restrictions that you do they aren't automatically some sort of evil monster... they're just different than you. If you want to change their mind, try having a civil conversation with them about it instead of wallowing in egocentricism.


  1. Amen! Great blog name by the way.

    Human beings evolved to be omnivores and contemporary ideas about diet can't change that. You're either an omnivore eating the way you evolved or you're an omnivore who's denying his or her essential nature.

    Cats are neither omnivores nor herbivores and to pretend otherwise is an exercise in ego stroking.

    Thank you for the call for civility.

  2. Thanks for coming to check us out here Paul! I hope that you enjoy the random things that fall out of our brains ...